The National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina issued a beach hazards statement for Horry County due to potentially dangerous surf conditions at area beaches.
The statement was issued just before 5:30 a.m. Saturday and is in effect until this evening. Another statement was issued for Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Strong southwesterly winds of 10 to 15 mph, with higher gusts, will develop by early afternoon and produce strong longshore currents, according to weather officials.
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A longshore current is an ocean current that moves parallel to shore.
“Longshore currents can sweep swimmers and surfers into rip currents, piers, jetties, and other hazardous areas,” the statement says. “Often, if the longshore current is strong enough, it will sweep swimmers off their feet, making it difficult to return to shore.”
The weather service advises beachgoers to use caution when in or near the water, and to check with lifeguards before entering the ocean during these times.